Some ideas for improving the flagging dialog

(Dave McClure) #1

Continuing the discussion from What about a “ticketing” system for suspensions?:

In the Flag dialog, it would help to clarify to users how flags do or don’t blemish the user’s reputation. Does it immediately have some demerit? Or must a moderator first agree with the flag?

I bring this up because I noticed this on the site point forums banner (emphasis mine):

It makes me think that users are hesitating to cast flags because the consequences are not clear. I know I’ve hesitated in the past, and I know there was an earlier discussion that resulted in the addition of the text “does not cast a flag” to the “Notify user ‘flag’”.

Here’s what the dialog looks like now:

Here’s what I propose:


  1. Remove “Notify @user” - its redundant now that its so easy to PM from a user card.
    If the functionality of auto-linking to the post is valuable, move it to the user card. It can always be deleted if necessary. Removing this makes it more clear that the flag dialog is only about flags.

  2. “Thank you for helping” heading instead of the more challenging “Why are you doing this?”
    Also, a less threatening color.

  3. Change ‘notify moderators’ to ‘other’ to make it more clearly a catch-all for flags that don’t clearly fit into one of the other boxes.

  4. Explanatory text next to submit button to clarify that the flagger’s name isn’t revealed to the post’s author.

/cc @cpradio @HAWK @Barbie @codinghorror

"Subflags"/anotations as part of flags

I’m a big fan, especially of the addition of the note about anonymity.

(cpradio) #3

:frowning: I use the Notify a lot, so I’d have to retrain myself to use the usercard… It just seems much easier from a moderating standpoint to click Flag Notify User than to perform a unique action of Usercard > PM. Just feels weird. Granted it gives me the ability to use the “Warning” checkbox by altering my workflow… so there are advantages to it.

I definitely like the other changes, a lot! I think it would benefit community involvement by making it “more friendly”.

(Barbie) #4

I like! I know that ‘privately’ implies… well private but I can honestly say that I never noticed it until pointed out. Also when flagging a person is just looking for the function and not necessarily reading what the function entails. And honestly privately may not be interpreted by everyone as “No one else can see this”

(Barbie) #5

Sorry for my newbie questions… I’m never on the receiving end of these functions.

When using “Notify @user” does the message include a link to the post in question?

Just wondering how this works if PM’ing off the user card then there would be no link to the post in question so it would have to be manually filled in or referenced?

(Sam Saffron) #6

I prefer keeping it clearer that the “flagging stuff” is all “behind a user’s back”.

I also feel there is less value in having this option there as the exact same functionality can be achieved by clicking on a user and hitting “pm” (we should keep track of the topic there)

(cpradio) #7

Yep, I knew there was a reason why I use it often :smile: Definitely have to have this supported via the Usercard if we ditch the option in the Flagging dialog. I’m not sure how fitting it is on a Usercard though…

Most people are going to use the Usercard PM to contact the person generically, not over a specific post. And as a mod, what if I just want to generically contact them? Do I have to manually remove the link?

The more I think this through, the less I like removing the option. It doesn’t really fit the idea that the Usercard represents.

(Dave McClure) #8

Removing the option from the flag dialog makes things much more clear to me:

  • Your flag will not be seen by the author of this post makes no sense in the context of PM’ing them obviously…
  • also “Why are you flagging this post?” is basically answered with “I’m not” when you make that choice).

It also reduces the number of choices a user is confronted with.

This seems like a pretty straightforward thing to do, IMHO.

(cpradio) #9

For a Mod/Staff, sure, for a typical user… no. They’d almost always have to remove it :frowning: That isn’t fair to them, so we’d need to be sure the link isn’t added for non-staff. Otherwise, it is just an inconvenience.

Still not fully sold on it, but I understand your reasons.

(Dave McClure) #10

All the PM’s I’ve received here on Meta from staff and non-staff have been in reference to a particular post, so I’m not sure about that.

(cpradio) #11

I send a lot of “non-post” related PMs too… I know I get plenty of PMs unrelated to a post from our members as well.

(Dave McClure) #12

Maybe its worth trying out, and/or if it seems too cumbersome, we could explore adding some single-click to method to remove the link to the post quickly?

… that, or leave in the option in the flag dialog, but for mods only?

(cpradio) #13

That would be fine by me. It would solve my concerns. However, if the majority feel that their users want the link in their PMs to the post, I’ll learn to adjust my workflow (I don’t see Meta being a good indicator of community to base this decision on – this is a very “niche” community and as such would behave differently). :smile:

(Michael Downey) #14

PM’ing a user about a post isn’t a flag, so it shouldn’t be located under the flag menu. :slight_smile:

(Jeff Atwood) #15

It is an alternative to a flag; like siblings arguing, they should talk to each other before involving parents. And a good parent will refuse to hear the complaint until the siblings have made a good faith attempt to work it out themselves.

That is why it appears on the flag dialog. Users should talk to each other when they have issues, or at least know they are encouraged to.

(Dave McClure) #16

Longer term, I’d like to see something like this if the PM option needs to stay:

For this next iteration the layout could stay closer to what it is now if that’s too much trouble, and if its selected, the “this is anonymous” message at the bottom could simply be hidden.

Happy to work on PR for this at some point if the proposed changes are agreeable.

(Jeff Atwood) #17

The dialog is getting awfully busy here… lots of text that nobody is going to read. I like some aspects of your suggestions, but it’s adding too much complexity and too many words.

(Dave McClure) #18

Fair enough. I will stick with the mock ups for the time being.

I’ve been playing more with the flagging workflow to get a better feel for all the current features. How much is the “Notify Moderators” option used?

On the one hand, I like the flexibility it offers where the user can enter a message.

But two things I find confusing:

  1. The button text changes to “Private Message”, but it still really is a flag, so I find that a bit misleading.
  2. The message spams the moderators PM inbox. Is that really desireable?

Here’s a possible change to consider:

  • change it to just be an ‘Other’ flag (as above)
  • user can enter custom text
  • text does not send a PM to moderators, but the annotation lives with the flag
  • the flag page keeps the ‘reply’ button so moderators can optionally reply to the user

Then the other non-custom flags can follow this same design.

Basically, each flag would have:

  • a type
  • an optional user message / explanation


New mockups:

Flag dialog has message box auto-filled with text based on selection:

Button changes to Private Message only if Notify @user is selected:

Mods get an ‘official warning’ checkbox in the PM case too:

(Jeff Atwood) #19

Things I like about these suggestions:

The title of the dialog might be intimidating, e.g. “how dare you flag something?? Explain yourself!” That’s clearly not the intent, and if it is being read that way it is accidental, so I am fine changing the title to Thanks for helping to keep our community civil!

I do like that this thanks someone for flagging and sets the high level goal, keeping everything on track and friendly. That’s a good change.

(The dialog title color is just based on the site settings, though, so the red titles here is how all dialogs look, inherited from bootstrap or whatever. I wonder if all dialogs should have basic black headers instead?)

On “notify moderators” I wanted to make it clear that this adds to the moderators cognitive load, not just “oh another flag” but “oh jeez, something I now have to specially read and process”. It is true that this is an “other” flag for all intents and purposes. So it probably does make more sense as It’s Something Else, and I changed that.

On “Notify {username}” I explained earlier. This is a key bit of education: talk to each other like human beings before you go running to the mods to solve all your problems. However I do think this reads better as Private Message @{username} since it’s utterly clear what that does, and we don’t need symmetry with notify moderators any more, as that was changed to It’s Something Else.

I agree that it isn’t clear that flags are private, and this keeps coming up despite the dialog title and the tooltip text… so I added a reminder at the bottom right: flags are private, only visible to staff.

(cpradio) #20

I like it (in case anyone hasn’t opened the flag window here, the changes are currently implemented)

That’s a good question. Love to see what it would look like. I don’t think it would be a problem making all modal headers black.

I think the text is a bit light, but I definitely like that it is there. I simply wonder if the lightness of the text will still make it unnoticeable by most of the community (just a thought).